Early Access: Clear marketing benefits but what about competition?

Hi everyone!
First, a great news that I am sure most of you already noticed, the few selected people for Early access now have the right to stream and let’s all have fun watching there: Twitch

Now, I know the topic of competitive integrity was already brought, but it would be nice to bring back the discussion on more reasonable takes.

The benefits of early access are obvious, it is great marketing for the game, and I am sure overall; as a competitive player or not, a succesful launch means more future tournaments and opportunities, so few months down the line it will definitely be great for everyone to have such a promotion of the game right now with several key names: a lot of great streamers, and quite a few pros from AoE, Starcraft, AoM and others.

My question for short-mid term is: how long is it going to take for “normal” people that are aspiring pros, or uninvited pros to bridge the gap with the top pros currently playing?

  • I just saw some streamers logging already roughly 140 hours on these 2 weeks (+3.5 days remaining yet to play), so probably the players wanting to full-train for Genesis are already around/over that.
  • The game looks like it is nearly in its final state so probably no “Day 1 patch” completely destroying the meta they already learned extensively.

Genesis is obvious; but even after that, is it a stretch or could it take at least until 2022 before such gap can be bridged? (which means people of roughly similar potential being back to 50% against each other basically)

Or conversely, such advantage is overrated and a lot of replays + study will bring back top players together in no time?

Curious of anyone’s opinion :slight_smile:


The answer is simple: Season 1 doesn’t start on release.

There is already a matchmaking in place since the closed beta but the ranks will only be visible on the website and not in game.

At some later point, maybe January 2022, the first season will start.
They plan to release a major balance patch before every new season.

So at the beginning the ones that played the beta have a slight advantage while the game will also not be balanced perfectly yet but that should be sorted out until the beginning of the first season.


What are “aspiring” pros? Players who will invest the same amount of time playing (per day, not in total), as the guys who got a head start will catch up almost immediately.

Players who are just interested in playing for fun will never catch up but they will never catch up to to pro players who will start playing on release as well.

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Thanks thats an answer that makes lots of sense. I also have the intuition that its easier to “catch up” given the right amoun of effort, compared to keeping/extending a lead, since a lot of knowledge is accessible by all.
Super interesting times to come :slight_smile:

Oh i see; so basically they might be a basic MMR ranking but formal ladder by Jan 2022? Sorry if i missed the news about that exact timing!

Yes but we don’t know the date yet.
January seems likely but there is no official confirmation on that.

Microsoft doesnt care about fairness in genesis cup and doesn’t care about small content creators who didn’t get access, as all views will be directed towards the ones who got access. It also doesn’t care about non-aoe players who want to compete in the game, they will be at disadvantage coming ito the release


It would be a really weird thing to prioritize right now. MS should be caring about providing AoE4 the best possible launch, and that would include getting the game onto as many streams as possible this week.


I understand that giving early access to streamers and stuff is good for the game, in the end of the day we all want to have a large player base and a large community.
I do think it would be nice of the devs if they gave early access to people who not only played both betas but also took their time to fill the surveys and give their feedback, and i don’t think that would hurt the game.
In the end of the day I am still really happy about what is coming and I can’t wait to get my hands on this game

They just today invited lucifron and vortix to the beta. They obviously deserve it but this entire process is outrageously unfair and not transparent, especially considering incoming genesis


To entertain your question:

If there were two players of equal skill that intended to play competitively right away, the one with the headstart will surely be at an advantage? If one started at launch and another had a few weeks head start, then both players continued to play every week at a similar pace, the lesser experienced player with potentially the same skill should remain at a disadvantage.

In practice, this may only impact a small number of players though. Also people are not machines and they will have to break at some point and maybe the other players can catch up then.

Is this fair for the tournament? Well it is not a level playing field but then arguably this benefits the game in the long term more.

This is a bit tangential from the post because I dont really care personally about the competitive advantage these content creators get, although I do think its a problem for those who want to be competitive at least in the short term, but long term it will all even out.

My biggest issue with these content creators getting access since October 13th (NDA lifted 10/25 so they could finally stream and publish videos) is that really this kind of marketing doesnt do any good for people who arent familiar with the RTS genre or AoE franchise. The marketing of this game has been terrible. And the launch trailer they have which is more of a TV ad doesnt really tell you anything about how this game is played. I hope to God Microsoft is grabbing more main stream content creators to push this game later this week b/c what does giving two weeks of early access to a bunch of AoE creators really do to help advertise this game? Anyone who plays one of the AoE games, knows about IV and most likely have already seen enough to make a purchase decision.

Just frustrating.

What short term? That one silly tournament that’s shaping up to be a couple of Franks spinning their boats around as fast as they can? There is no season, there is no ladder and due to their high elo nobody who wants to be competitive will run into them until he climbed high enough to reach them and by then their 2 week head start will mean nothing.

It’s aimed at the crowd that watches these streamers, the AoE2/3 SC crowd (and whoever else got in), they are just as important to reach as the people who aren’t familiar with the franchise. As far as marketing goes, this and the show matches are probably some of the better things they did. Sure, they might sell more copies if they reach out to Dr. Disrespect but the AoE2/3 crowd are more likely to stay for the duration, if they can reach them.

As most people realize long term it will even out. Short term hurray you won 7k. That’s will last you a year a most? To me I saw this all months ago. Aoe4 release date been out for few months and its typical for streamers etc to get early access. Like everygame not everyone gets it. There some YouTube like age of noob who has amazing following but didnt get early access. Suck for them but not the end of the world. In a month or 2 it wont matter.

If anything the tournament organizers didnt think about this but then again the main point of this tournament is to bring publicly, fans, excitement to the aoe4. If you ever organize huge projects, tournament there always these things that pop up and you always want to just shake your head for missing it but that’s life.

Overall, I think this is a very very minor thing for me. Anyone who really thinks that a few days disadvantage is somehow a life changing thing is just delusional. Just chill and enjoy the ride. Aoe4 feedback been amazing even streamers that said they hated it are changing there opinions slowly. Very very excited for the franchise and someone who been supporting Microsoft for decades will continue to do so. They haven’t let me down. Maybe the games not for every one but you can still appreciate it.